I want to take some time to dive into two buzzwords that have been consistently plastered all over corporate boardrooms for years: Agile and Cloud Technology. It’s almost as if you cannot attend a meeting without hearing these terms tossed around constantly. All seems to be feverishly scurrying towards the adoption of Agile methods and Cloud tech. At some point, one must pause and wonder, why this sudden rush? Is there any substance to the hype, or is it yet another example of the proverbial instinct following the hype?
In the financial sector
it seems as if the echo of ‘Agile’ is being heard from every corner.
It might as well be engraved into the very walls of our corporate headquarters along everything else and the lighting. Stuffed in air vents and echoing across the building. Agile methodology, for those blissfully unaware, is essentially a set of principles for software development under which requirements and solutions evolve through the collaborative effort of self-organizing cross-functional teams. It is based on the premise of adaptive planning, evolutionary development, early delivery, and continual improvement.
Sounds fantastic doesn’t it? However, does it bear fruit when in the real world, or more specifically, in the labyrinthine and often convoluted operations of an international bank? After all, our environment is not from the picturesque world of innovation and creativity from which Agile popped in to existence. The financial sector is highly regulated, with well-established processes and stringent compliance requirements with grand risk. And let us not forget the layers upon layers of legacy systems that have been piled up over decades.
At this point we move onto the other buzzword du jour – Cloud Technology. This word has been increasingly used with the promise of greater scalability, flexibility, and cost savings. Inevitably in our drive to modernize, we must not overlook the intricate challenges that come bundled with this seemingly ‘ground-breaking’ technology. Security concerns, regulatory compliance, data sovereignty issues – to name a few on the road to the C-loud. Not to mention, the task of migrating, re-shaping, re-inventing and operating decades-old, deeply entrenched systems onto an entirely new platform. Not not exactly a walk in the park is it ?
What about the interaction and mix of Agile and Cloud Technology? You might think they would combine and mingle seamlessly, given their shared emphasis on flexibility, scalability, and innovation. In reality, the adoption of Agile methods within a cloud environment often compounds and amplifies the issues associated with each. How do you balance the need for speed and flexibility that Agile brings, with the requirements for security and compliance so integral to the banking sector? The result can often feel like a square peg being jammed into a round hole.
Panacea to all operational woes?
And here we are, while the proponents of Agile and Cloud Technology may praise these methods as the panacea to all operational woes, one cannot ignore or miss to consider the unique challenges and realities of the industry. The financial sector is not a Silicon Valley startup, and what works for one does not necessarily translate into success for the other. It is time we shed the blinding hype and carefully assess whether these buzzwords truly deliver on their promise, or if they are merely excuses.
Remember, all that glitters is not gold,
especially when it comes to the application of Agile and Cloud Technology in the complex world of international banking.
The financial industry should be dictated not by trends and excuses but by the pursuit of consistent service, robust security, and most importantly, growth and customer satisfaction. Therefore as technology experts we must not lose sight of these fundamentals in our quest for modernization.
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